Walton-Smith – Grand Lake celebrates Christmas, Dickens-style | SkyHiNews.com

Walton-Smith – Grand Lake celebrates Christmas, Dickens-style

Cathy Walton-Smith/View From the Lake
Grand Lake, CO Colorado

High in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado – in a sleepy little valley tucked under the high peaks – you’ll find the village of Grand Lake. It’s not a very big town by anyone’s standards, but the spirit of Christmas is very big in this village.

Some would say that Grand Lake is a magical place, and the people who live there would all agree. The sky is bluer there – the sun is brighter, the water is purer, the snow is whiter, and the stars are so bright you can almost reach up and touch them. In the weeks before Christmas, this little village becomes a place of enchantment.

It begins on the day after the Thanksgiving feast. The town council gets together to find the perfect Christmas tree which is set up right in the middle of the street in the center of the village. It is covered with colored lights, and lighted with great ceremony to shine for all, every night right into the new year.

All the village shops and restaurants along the avenue decorate for the season with white and colored lights that shine on the snow-covered street, spreading enchantment throughout the village. On very cold nights, ice crystals will float in the air, and it’s like being on the inside of a glass snow globe.

Some of the villagers have been working hard all year to create handmade gifts to sell at the bazaar. There are heartwarming soups, jellies and jams, dazzling ornaments, hats, scarves and jewelry for the delight of shoppers looking for a perfect gift. Shopkeepers offer hot cider and punch while shoppers stand in line to purchase their wares.

Then the events begin. Every week there is something keeping the spirit of Christmas alive in an Olde Fashioned way. First there is a gala celebration where grownups dress in ball gowns and tuxedos, and donate money to charity. Santa Claus appears to delight the youngsters. At a special breakfast with Santa and his Elves, every little girl and boy can make their wishes known and have a picture taken. Then they ride through the streets on a big fire engine with Santa, blowing horns and sirens.

There are pageants and music festivals for all ages to thrill the heart. The villagers practice for weeks. Even the school boys and girls put on a show. Carolers wind through the streets with candles, singing as they go from one church to the next, recalling childhood memories. All will join in as they pass, to enjoy a reward of cookies and hot chocolate at the end of the route.

For Christmas eve, every church has a service to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. Later, both young and old will lie awake watching the bright stars for a glimpse of Santa and his sleigh, or a shooting star crossing the heavens.

The fun goes on after Christmas with a holiday melodrama play, and the villagers as actors. Will the villain have his way with the sweet young thing? Or will our hero return in time to save her?

On one magical night when the moon is full, skiers gather ’round a campfire to ski across meadows by the light of the moon. It is quite enchanting as the moonlight turns the forest into a fairyland for silent skiers to pass by.

A fireworks show, like diamonds in the sky over the mountain tops, brings in the New Year with a bang. Every villager, both young and old, will stay awake to “oh and ah” with delight.

May the enchantment of an Olde Fashioned Grand Lake Christmas fill your hearts this holiday season.

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